Visiting Rome....

The Memories of Italy website is not going to list all the attractions that you could conceivably see in Rome. There are many, many other websites that can provide you with "top" ten/twenty attractions or "must see" lists. Some of these lists are a bit ambitious for visitors that can stay in Rome for only 3-4 days, others overlook simple and inexpensive sites.

One of the very first steps we would recommend is to explore the website. In our opinion, one of the very best. It is not a commercial site, and provides concise tourist informations. We particularly like their suggested itineraries for one-two or more days visits. These itineraries are practical and, more importantly, doable without taking away from experiencing Rome.

A question I am frequently asked is about "top attractions" that are worth going and see, particularly when time is limited. As someone who has lived in Rome all his youth and early adulthood, and realizing that a tourist will not have the opportunity to spend a long time in Rome, I have my own preferences. Here they are.

The Colosseum, the Forum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon are at the top of the list. In about 20 minutes, one can easily walk from the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain and in the process enjoying wandering through the narrow streets of old Rome. Visiting the Colosseum and/or the Forum, is a bit of a bigger undertaking, i.e. it will take a longer time as there might be significant line ups. If you are willing to spend a few euros, guided tours offered by various certified guides outside the Colosseum, will save you line up time.

Visiting the Vatican Museum is a different experience and can be also a very frustrating one: depending on the time of the year, crowds, long line ups and, if very unlucky, a few hours of waiting. At the risk of being controversial, if time is limited, consider alternatives. For instance:
  • If line ups for the Vatican Museums discourage you (or you have no time), you can still visit the basilica of San Peter, the underground chapel and possibly even walk/climb the stairs to the top of the Cupola.  All of that will give you a full sense of the amazing paintings, sculptures and cultural background of one of the layers of the city.

  • There is a very good museum
    besides the Roman Forum (Musei capitolini) in Piazza Campidoglio worth visiting.  It is overlooked by tourists, but it is among the best in the world and from there you will have a great inside look at part of the Forum

  • Another museum overlooked by tourists is the Borghese Gallery. Note that for the Borghese Gallery a ticket reservation is strongly advised. You can purchase one online at this website.

  • A visit of Castel Sant'Angelo nearby St. Peters is an easy undertaking. Originally built in the 2nd century as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian, the castle has seen lots of history and intrigue. It overlooks the Tiber river and gives outstanding views of Rome and St. Peter.

  • For a feeling of Roman life, walk to Campo di Fiori (5-10 minutes from Piazza Navona) and explore the many side streets away from main piazza where tourists tend to concentrate.
Finally, and this is for cats lovers, within the ancient roman ruins of four temples and the remains of Pompei's theatre where it is believed Julius Caesar was killed,
you will find a volunteers driven cat shelter. Cats have always been part of Rome and are protected by law. Stray and abandoned, many cats find refuge among the ruins of temples and ancient buildings, others prowl streets and gardens (see Gatti di Roma). The Torre Argentina shelter is unique.
It is run by an international group of volunteers and is home to about to about 200-250 cats that are fed, cleaned and looked after. Visitors are always welcome to look around and browse the shop. A part of Rome just like the adjacent temples. Check out our video on this website.